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December 9, 2011 at 12:07 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

ADHDers Have Broken Internal Clocks

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

In a study recently published by Nature’s Molecular Psychiatry journal, Dr. Andrew Coogan reports that the genes which normally control our “internal clock” (or circadian rhythm), not only malfunction in cases of ADHD, but that those with greater "clock" malfunction have worse ADHD symptoms.

In this study, the gene activity of adults with and without ADHD were compared at regular intervals over the course of a week. Particpants also wore an “Actiwatch” which recorded their activity and sleep patterns.

Said Dr. Coogan,We noted healthy (non-ADHD) patients showed body clock genes that were switched on at appropriate times of the day whereas the ADHD patients exhibited body clock genes that were flat with little, or no, activity…”

This reinforces previous research showing ADHDers have sleep patterns that are much poorer, on average, than those without the condition.

It also opens the possibility of “Light Therapy” as treatment for ADHD - an exciting prospect for the growing numbers wishing to avoid, diminish or improve the affects of their prescription ADHD medication!

Light Therapy requires only that users sit in front of a “light box” (made to replicate the sun’s affects) for between a half hour to an hour each morning.

“It has been shown in other conditions such as depression that if you find that an individual has depression and has an abnormal circadian rhythm, by putting the ciracdian rhythm back to its correct time, you can improve depressive symptoms…We’re interested in finding out if this is the case with ADHD.” Dr. Coogan explains as he stresses that a disrupted circadian rhythm is common to a variety of psychiatric disorders. “You’ll practically never find an adult with ADHD who JUST has ADHD,”

Surely, with these new findings, studies on the use of light therapy for ADHD are soon to come!


Do you or your child have ADHD? Have you noticed trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or with feeling rested in the mornings? Would you consider “Light Therapy”?



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1 Comment

  • I would love to try light therapy for myself and my granddaughter. Prescription drugs are just not an option for me, the side effects are as bad as ADHD.

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